On June 14, the Idaho federal district court refused to grant a temporary restraining order against a timber sale on the Payette National Forest. The court’s review of the merits of the case was cursory, and instead it focused on the standard for granting an injunction. A key question is whether the injunction would be in the public interest.
The Payette Forest Coalition had participated in developing the project, and had intervened in the case on the side of the Forest Service. In determining the public interest, the court noted that, “the Project was developed in a collaboration between the USFS and a diverse group of stakeholders, including the Intervening Defendants.” The court also stated that, “the collaborative efforts of all Defendants in developing the Project is in the public’s interest,” and finally, “the public has an interest in supporting the collaborative process that was used in this case to develop the Project.” The court denied the TRO (citing a number of other factors in the public interest as well).
There is no evidence that the plaintiff environmental groups challenged the assumption that this collaboration was in the public interest, which, based on many discussions on this blog, should probably be considered a debatable point.